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Psychology Tomorrow! My Character Hates Counsellors

Good afternoon. You’re listening to ‘Psychology Tomorrow!’ on Federation Public Subspace Radio 2. Psychology Tomorrow is a look at issues, topics, and advice related to the all things Counselling in Starfleet. Here’s your host, Ship’s Counsellor Denji Ryan.

Hello everyone! Today we examine a question asked by counsellor turned science officer, Lt.(JG) Sal Taybrim of the USS Excalibur-A. The question in its simplest form is this: Why do officers hate counsellors? Taybrim pointed out that half of the officers aboard the ship he was serving on had outright told him that they don’t like counsellors. I too have experienced similar responses in my career.

This question sparked quite the fervent conversation in the Counselling Duty Post area of the forums. There were a variety of answers including my character is “naturally shy, and intensely private, and doesn’t like to expose her vulnerabilities”, “It is not a dislike of the counsellor, more a dislike with being center of attention for things that bother her”, and perhaps most compelling (and honest which was appreciated) “For what its worth, I am one of those players who enjoys ‘broken’ characters, but part of that is not wanting the broken character to be fixed”.

So why is this a problem anyways? First and foremost is a recurring theme throughout the discussion pointing to a higher than average turnover rate among counsellors. Trying to sim a role that people are reluctant to write with or outright acknowledge they dislike is a sure fire way to discourage players from continuing to play these types of positions. The underlying issue is that there is an assumption that a character who hates counsellors will not interact with them. The player won’t write with the poor guy playing the counsellor. However, does this really have to be the case?

I love what Kaedyn Zehn had to say. He was able to eloquently sum up the ‘gist’ of my opinion and although he recently took a LOA, Lt. Cmdr Kaedyn Zehn gets this month’s ‘Psychology Tomorrow Quote of the Month:

With regards to OOC, I often think that the gold rule of simming should be the same as improv: “Yes, and…”.  In other words, you don’t deliberately block another player but try to work with what they give you.  I think this a great way of playing for, and with, everyone but is especially key here.  By immediately saying “No, I don’t like counsellors” you are blocking the person simming a counsellor rather than playing along with them and it stops them being able to contribute much.  By taking on a “yes, and…” approach you can have your character agree to whatever they are comfortable with, perhaps an informal chat rather than an official counselling session, and not prevent another player from contributing. – Kaedyn Zehn

Got something to say? Want to see what others are saying? Check out the discussion “My Character Hates Counsellors”, started by Sal Taybrim, for yourself here.